Coach Isaac Opeele's Ghana Premier League all-time XI
Coach Isaac Opeele's Ghana Premier League all-time XI

He preferred Togo national football team and Goldfields (now AshGold) shot-stopper Nibombe Wake to former Hearts of Oak and Ghana goalie Sammy Adjei who is celebrated for his incredible goalkeeping as the Phobians won their maiden continental title.

Another major exclusion is Bernard Dong Bortey who is highly rated by fans of the Ghana Premier League.

The coaches, however, see him differently, since Isaac Adade Opeele is the third technical brain to leave out Dong Bortey from his team among the five Ghana Premier League all-time XI list released by Pulse Ghana so far.

READ MORE: GPL all-time XI:No Dong Bortey, Ishmael Addo in Oti Akenteng's team

Coach Opeele who has been following the Ghana Premier League from his days as a fun, coach to pundit after careful review of the performances of players in the league since the 1993/1994 season has released his all-time finest players the GPL has ever produced in its 27 years history.

Coach Isaac Opeele
Coach Isaac Opeele

Nibombe Wake

Wake was the goalkeeper of the Togolese national football team when AshGold were synonymous for signing foreign players into the fold. Like Nibombe Wake, players like Koussi Nousedji, Kone Ibrahima, etc were all national team players in their respective nations

He was instrumental as the Goldfields now AshGold made it all the way to the final of the CAF Champions League in 1997. His excellent goalkeeping augmented the Goldfields now AshGold defence.

Ghanaians will remember Nibombe Wake for his heroics in the 1998 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to deny the Black Stars from scoring while he was in post for Togo at a time, he was plying his trade for AshGold. It was Wake vs Ghana but the likes of Abedi Pele, Mohammed Gargo, etc were prevented from scoring as the Hawks of Togo defeated Ghana 2-0 and it contributed to Ghana’s exit from the group stage of the tournament.

Yaw Owusu

He was a solid right full-back who was very effective in executing his job.

Yaw Owusu combined flawless defending to enterprising attacking play to his role as a lateral defender.

Yaw Owusu following years of proving his worth at Asante Kotoko completed a move to Goldfields now Ashanti Gold in 1995 and he helped the Miners to win the league that very season.

He was also key as the Miners made history as one of the first two clubs to reach the final of the CAF Champions League in 1997- they, however, lost on penalties against Raja Casablanca of Morocco.

Yaw Owusu also contributed his quota to the national team, he was a member of the Black Stars during his heydays, but he never represented Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Jacob Nettey

He captained Hearts of Oak as they won a historic treble of CAF Champions League, Ghana Premier League and the FA Cup in 2000.

Jacob Nettey was a good organizer of the defence and an excellent tackler and aside from being a good centre-back, he could play very well as a lateral defender.

Nettey was part of the Hearts of Oak team that won the Ghana Premier League on six consecutive occasions.

He also represented Ghana in the 1996 Olympic Games and the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations.

Stephen Tetteh

Tetteh, after he excelled with the Black Starlets team that won bronze in the 1999 U-17 FIFA World Cup, was signed by the Hearts of Oak from Mighty Jets

He began his career with Accra Hearts of Oak at the beginning of the 2000 league campaign. He was part of a formidable defence used in the team's continental triumph and treble-trophy season that year. After helping Hearts of Oak win six national league championships and two continental trophies, he left for the United States of America in 2003, where he is currently domiciled.

READ MORE: Dong Bortey, Emmanuel Eboue and 3 other African players who went bankrupt

Edward Agyemang Duah

Rambo, as he was nicknamed, was a solid centre back and a very difficult one to beat.

Agyemang Duah won the Ghana Premier League title with AshGold and Hearts of Oak and before that he was part of the Kotoko team that won the 1993 league.

Agyemang Duah also played in three CAF Champions League final. He was at the losing end at Kotoko in 1993 and AshGold in 1997, but he finally clinched the trophy with Hearts of Oak in 2000.

Agyemang Duah was a regular member of the Black Stars in his prime in the Ghana Premier League, representing Ghana in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

Valentine Atem

The schemer was a toast for AshGold fans as he entertained them with his amazing skills, dribbles, control, passes and clinical finishing when opportunities fall his way.

Atem caught the attention of Ghanaian clubs following his impressive display when his side Mt. Cameroon faced Asante Kokoko in the CAF Cup Winners Cup in 2002.

He is remembered for halting play in Kumasi as he held the ball for some minute after expressing his dissatisfaction over officiating as the skipper of the Cameroonians.

Asante Kotoko were the first to make the approach, but they were outwitted by their regional rivals, AshGold to seal his signature.

He was a delight to watch in the 2003 Ghana Premier League with his dribbles, incisive passes, control and ball retention in the middle of the park.

AshGold however, didn’t benefit from his signing in his first season because they were deducted several points for failing to acquire all the paper works before using him. They suffered points deduction and in the end, finish just above the drop zone.

Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor was a delight to watch with his effective dribbles and runs. Many rates him as one of the best dribblers Ghana has produced in the past 20 years. He added goal scoring to his play emerging as joint GPL top scorer in 2002 with 18 goals.

After joining Hearts of Oak from Great Olympics, he won three Ghana Premier League titles, before moving to Kotoko in 2003. The mercurial midfielder helped the Kumasi giants to win their first Ghana Premier League in his debut season, following a controversial transfer which prolonged for some time before it went through for GHC 120,000 (Still a Ghanaian record for a transfer between two clubs on the domestic scene). He was part of the Hearts of Oak team that swept everything in 2000, winning the CAF Champions League, Ghana Premier League and the FA Cup, which was a historic treble.

Prince Adu Poku

The former B.A United marksman was nicknamed ‘Prince of Goals’ by the Kotoko faithful when he joined the Kumasi giants.

He was a predator in front of goal as he made goal scoring easier.

Adu Poku put smiles on the faces of Asante Kotoko fans week in and week out by winning games for the

One of the wins Asante Kotoko fans would forever remember him for was against Goldfields with

Nibombe Wake who had been instrumental in the post to deny Ghana from scoring, threw shade at Ghana before and after the 1998 AFCON which suggested that no Ghanaian striker could fit him and Adu Poku accepted the challenge and scored him as he put up a man of the match performance against the Miners to silence one of Africa’s best goalkeepers at the time.

Coach Isaac Opeele settled on perhaps the two best goal scorers the Ghana Premier League has ever seen Emmanuel Osei Kuffour and Ishmael Addo.

Emmanuel Osei Kuffour

Emmanuel Osei Kuffour is arguably the greatest player in the Ghana Premier League history. He started playing in the GPL in the 1993/1994 with Dwarfs as a defender before he was converted into an attacking midfielder. He featured in the GPL until the 2007/2008 season when he won the league with Asante Kotoko, making him the longest-serving player in the professional league.

He won five league titles with Hearts of Oak and a league title with Asante Kotoko, making him one of the most decorated players in the GPL.

Kuffour’s leadership qualities were awesome and had the opportunity to captain the Black Stars during the 2002 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON). He was a schemer cum scorer as well. Hearts of Oak owe their 2000 CAF Champions League title to him - he scored 10 goals to win the top scorer of the competition.

Ishmael Addo

He is the greatest scorer in the history of the Ghana Premier League (GPL). Ishmael Addo was a striker who was not the ball-playing type, but he had a good vision at goal and his positioning was second to none in the opponents’ goal area.

He won the Ghana Premier League top scorer in 1999 after being promoted from the junior side, bagging 16 goals.

Addo registered 19 goals the following season and in 2001 he recorded 22 goals which are the highest goal tally in a single GPL season.

He has paid his dues at the national team level. In 1999 during the FIFA U-17 World Cup, he emerged as the top scorer as Ghana placed third and he has also had the opportunity to play for the Black Stars, but, he failed to translate his devastating form at club level to the national team.

Procedure

The Ghana Premier League all-time XI is a campaign by Pulse Ghana to settle on the finest players who have paid their dues to domestic football in the country since the inception of professional football on 19th December 1993.

Ghana Sports Historian and Statistician Thomas Freeman Yeboah in his research came up with about 50 players who have been outstanding in the Ghanaian topflight league from 1993 up to date.

The list was presented to Coaches, retired and current football administrators and journalists and other well-meaning sports enthusiasts to help the exercise.

They were, however, at liberty to include any player whom they consider worthy of a place in the team, though not captured in the pool of prospective players for the Ghana Premier League all-time

Criteria

(1) Players who have excelled during the period from 19 December 1993 to date were considered.

(2) Contribution to teamwork

(3) Individual brilliance

(4)Consistency

(5) Silverware won by the players

(6) Impact and influence

(7) National team assignment for the player during this period.

It should be noted that the views of about ten renowned coaches, journalists, football administrators have been taken into consideration in our quest to establish the Ghana Premier League finest XI of all-time.